What are the 7 Keys to Comprehension?

Good readers use the following 7 Keys to unlock meaning:

  1. Create Mental Images: Good readers create a wide range of visual, auditory, and other sensory images as they read, and they become emotionally involved with that they read. They create a “motion picture” in their heads.
  2. Use Background Knowledge: Good readers use their prior knowledge (everything they've read, seen, experienced) before, during, and after reading in order to enhance their understanding of what they're reading. Activating and building background knowledge is critical.
  3. Ask Questions: Good readers generate questions before, during, and after reading to clarify meaning, make predictions, and focus their attention on what's important. Reading is interactive and kids should be questioning as they read.
  4. Make Inferences: Good readers make predictions, draw conclusions, and create interpretations that deepen their understanding of text. They go beyond the literal words on the page. They notice “clues” that allow them to make inferences.
  5. Determine Importance: Good readers can distinguish between important and unimportant information when they read. They realize that all the words in a passage don't have the same weight.
  6. Synthesize Information: Good readers track their thinking as it evolves during reading in order to mine the overall meaning. They can describe in detail what it means to them.
  7. Use “Fix-Up” Strategies: Good readers are aware when they understand and when they don't. If they have trouble understanding specific words, phrases, or longer passages, they use a wide range of problem-solving strategies including skipping ahead, rereading, asking questions, using a dictionary, and reading the passage aloud.
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